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Designing for your future self

A collaborative talk on how to design for older users given at 'Ladies that UX London' on 14 April 2015 at Yammer's offices by Julie Kennedy, Lucy Scott, Raina Brody and Shelley Thomas.
How do we design for the older generation, this group is often ignored in the development of new products although many 55yrs+ have the latest technologies, money and time to invest. Learn what you need to consider in your research and design process to create usable products for older user’s.

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Designing for your future self

  1. 1. Designing for your future self A collaborative talk by user experience specialists
  2. 2. Meet us Raina Brody Senior Researcher Shelley Thomas Senior Researcher Julie Kennedy Head of UX Lucy Scott Senior Researcher
  3. 3. • Meet us • Meet our users • Why design for them • What’s different Break - 20 mins • How to design better • Looking to the future • Discussion What we’ll cover
  4. 4. Here’s what the older user of today looks like
  5. 5. Let’s not forget the millions of other older users • Limited incomes • Housebound • Restricted mobility • Limited access to technology
  6. 6. • Life expectancy and healthy life expectancy increasing Over the next 20 years the number of 60’s+ will increase by 40% • Value of grey £ Spending power of over 65’s (2010) = £76 billion By 2030 this will grow to £127 billion = growth of 68% “There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I’m old, There is no respect for age – I missed it coming and going” J.B. Priestley The ‘older population’ is something we’ll ALL be part of
  7. 7. From Mintel 2014 So what does their current wealth look like?
  8. 8. From Mintel - Percentage of adults who have ever accessed the internet, by age, Q1 2011 – Q1 2014 Base: Q1 2011 - 49,847 adults aged 16+, Q1 2012 - 50,277 adults aged 16+, Q1 2013 - 50,617 adults aged 16+, Q1 2014 - 51,039 adults aged 16+ And what does their exposure to the internet look like?
  9. 9. • Number of older adults using tablets to access the internet has trebled for 65-74yrs from 5% in 2012 to 17% now • Those aged 65-74 are more likely to use a smartphone now with 20% more compared to 12% in 2012 • Key areas of interest are travel, news, watching TV playing games and health • Some older people that would benefit from online services do not have access or support Some facts about the older user and technology?
  10. 10. “We assume only younger tech-savvy people will want to use this” “We don’t want to see anybody over 65 in this sample” “The problem of older users will go away in the next 10 years...” “We don’t know any older users who’d want to participate in our studies” We don’t have the time, money, or expertise to set up and maintain a website that is tailored to the needs of older people Working with clients, how often have you heard the following?
  11. 11. This results in a vicious cycle of exclusion Products are difficult for older users Older people try them, have trouble, feel alienated Bad experiences promote avoidance Older users not perceived as the ‘target market’ Products not built with older users in mind
  12. 12. “They say adapt or die. At my age, I feel I can’t adapt, because the new age is not an age that I grew up to understand.” Anne - 89 Why design for this group? A worst case scenario…
  13. 13. Elderly users feel excluded: • Humiliated and distressed • Alienated • Bad service design A more typical example of exclusion: ePassport control
  14. 14. Vision Hearing Physical speed Hand movement and other physical limitations Behaviour and habitsMemory and information processing So what happens as we age?
  15. 15. How do changes affect memory and processing ability? Memory and information processing
  16. 16. Declines with age: • Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex • Hormones and proteins that repair brain cells • Blood flow to the brain • Neurotransmitters vital to learning and memory • Efficiency of absorbing brain-enhancing nutrients Memories are harder to make and recall as we age • Forgetfulness is common amongst older adults • Longer to learn and recall information Add brain image Hippocampus Prefrontal cortex
  17. 17. Changes in memory make noticeable changes in behaviour Because older brains have: • Slower processing speeds • Reduced processing resources • Diminished filtering Older users are often: • Slower and more methodical • More likely to read all information • Susceptible to issues of cognitive load • Need more help learning new skills • Reluctant to try new things • More likely to use search engines to save time • Twice as likely to give up on a task • Assign blame to themselves
  18. 18. How do changes affect sight and vision? Vision
  19. 19. Changes in vision accelerate with age What happens: • More difficult to see objects clearly • Over 85, one in 20 are legally blind • Presbyopia – long-sightedness caused by lens hardening • Pupil shrinkage - require more light • Loss of peripheral vision - decreased by 25% by 80 years • Contrast sensitivity diminishes from 40 years - reduced by 83% by 80 years • Half of all over 65 years have cataracts How macular degeneration effects vision over time
  20. 20. Changeable font sizes are critical for ease of use
  21. 21. Which of these colours are typically more difficult for older users to accurately distinguish? Colour blindness increases with age
  22. 22. Physical speed So what happens as we age?
  23. 23. Research on a new Home quote process showed older users had difficulty clicking simple buttons; they didn’t click fast enough to be recognised Older users often take longer to do things: • Timeouts • Session lengths • Other time-based assumptions Older users do things more slowly and deliberately
  24. 24. So what happens as we age? Hand movement and other physical limitations
  25. 25. Elderly users often experience difficulties with their hands • Arthritis is a common disability in the 55+ age group • Joints: causes painful degeneration • Mobility: severely restricted • Dexterity: limiting, operating controls and switches, gripping objects such as door knobs and using tools • Small objects: poor ability to handle very small objects: mouse, phones, hearing aids • Slower task times Arthritis
  26. 26. Just observing older users can inspire simple design changes Studies in ironing: • Physical limitations affecting range of motion, fine motor control or increased fatigue in everyday tasks • Older users sometimes needed to sit down due to fatigue, yet ironing boards aren’t designed for seated use • The horizontal position of the hot plate also requires repeated extension of the wrist when in use – not good for arthritis
  27. 27. Research: new touch screen UI • Huge gesture-based age divide – Younger users: no problem – Older users: nearly impossible • Physical movement changes with age • Extreme programming and older / younger friendship pairs to see differences “ It’s like a doorbell, you assume you have to press it long and hard to get someone to hear you” Older and younger people gesture differently...
  28. 28. Designers don’t always design with specific scenarios in mind: Trials with elderly users of mobility scooters on board London buses: • Showed limited judgement, slow reactions, limited mobility (neck, upper body) • Struggled to use multiple skills at the same time, that we take for granted • Risking themselves and others • Scooter is a lifeline Designers make assumptions about elderly users
  29. 29. So what changes as we age? Behaviour and habits
  30. 30. iOS 6.xiOS 8 Designs need better cues for feature discovery by older users Older users do not easily discover features that are not marked (or hinted at): • Have less working knowledge of trends and what is possible in tech • Need to prompt discovery of off-screen features and functions
  31. 31. ‘Design’ features which benefit working-age people are problematic for retirees • Weekdays vs. Weekends programme unnecessary - no predictability around the ‘working week’ • Don’t let implicit design functions imply ‘older people, this is not for you’ “There is no sense in having a weekend setting – for me every day is the same” Youth based assumptions... your day isn’t like everyone else's
  32. 32. Heavens! That’s a lot of stuff… Come back in 20 minutes to find out what you can do about it
  33. 33. A lot of people in the tech industry talk about “changing the world” and “making people’s lives better.” Making it better • Bad design excludes sections of the older population from the benefits of technology. • If you’re a designer, developer, user researcher - you can help change that… • Following some simple principles, you can create more inclusive products that work better for everyone, especially the people who need them the most.
  34. 34. • Make the argument for inclusion: – Lots of them, growing population – Available cash – Loyal once hooked • Get product teams exposed to older users during design and development • Understand needs of older user groups (and how they differ from younger) • Use easy ethnographic and guerrilla tactics • Include a +70 sample in research • Older/younger friendship pairs in research to highlight differences Start with product strategy
  35. 35. When running usability research with older users Preparation • Avoid anxiety • Replicate home environment • Provide pen and paper to make notes • Make participants feel comfortable • Stress that you are not testing them • Clear up-front information In session • Keep focus • Avoid technical jargon • Allow for extra time and let them think • Remind them it’s the system’s fault; not yours
  36. 36. Interaction design: ways to consider older users • Older users often take longer to do things; time-based actions or processes need adjustment • Consider physical speed and dexterity in the design process • Off-screen options and functionality should have an obvious visual cue • Don’t let implicit design functions imply ‘older people, this is not for you’ • Allow for easy and obvious control of text / image size • Design products with 3rd party helpers in mind • Stay in one window on websites Android: Big Launcher Amazon Fire: Mayday
  37. 37. Keep the following in the back of your mind CHECKLIST: Remember the basics • Clear paragraphs, headings, links • Maintain consistency throughout • Provide feedback on clicked links • Design for colour blindness • Make obvious – click, tap • Make scanning easier • Provide explicit instructions e.g. ‘Read more...’ • Evoke trust • Don’t be afraid of shadow and light sources
  38. 38. Technology can help older users stay independent longer Technology is helping people who aren’t able to do what they used to with things like shopping, driving and communications – GET INSPIRED!
  39. 39. Technology can help augment lost senses Technology to be the eyes and ears by helping older people who lose hearing or sight continue to enjoy doing things they used to Audiobook libraries accessible anywhere Pulse vibrating wristband, Lechal shoe for navigation The Google Lens (illness treating) Empatica seizure predicting wristband Bluetooth hearing aids and in- ear sound systems
  40. 40. Technology can help elderly users to remain ‘medically safe’ Medical alarms “Your mother hasn’t moved for a while...” Medication monitoring Home care monitoring systems Medminder Pill Dispenser, and Protius Biotech’s smart tablets Phillips Lifeline CanaryCare sensor system
  41. 41. Technology can help make sure you‘re never ‘lost’ GPS Shoes embedded with GPS trackers help find a person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
  42. 42. Technology can reduce social isolation: CNA speaking exchange Launch video
  43. 43. It starts with us. If you pay attention, others will too… Technology can be a force for change in the way we treat older people. Stop discounting them, and start including them. …Your future self Thank you

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